Then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing on February 1 at the White House.
Then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing on February 1 at the White House. Carolyn Kaster

Payments from Russia kept secret

CLASSIFIED military documents show Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, took money from Russia and failed to disclose it, two top US politicians say.

However, the White House has refused to make these documents public, meaning the "extremely troubling” evidence within them may never come to light, Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings says.

The US President fired General Flynn from his post in February for misleading White House staff about conversations he had with Russian ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.

Now, the US Defence Intelligence Agency has shown Congress's House Oversight Committee documents that show General Flynn did not ask permission or inform the government about payments he received for appearances before Russian organisations in 2015, when he also dined with the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among the payments is $45,000 he received for a speech he gave to the Russian government-funded English- language news channel RT. He is also accused of earning $530,000 from lobbying that benefited the Turkish government.

The two leading members of the oversight committee, Mr Cummings and Republican congressman Jason Chaffetz, suggest the payments and the lack of disclosure may have broken the law.

"As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else,” Mr Chaffetz said. "And it appears as if he did take that money, it was inappropriate, and there are repercussions for the violation of law.”

The two committee members said General Flynn should surrender the money paid and suggested criminal charges could follow.

Mr Cummings said Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus had declined to hand over documents relating to General Flynn's dealings with foreign nationals or the vetting process for his role as national security adviser.

"In short, the White House has refused to provide this committee with a single piece of paper in response to our bipartisan request and that's simply unacceptable,” Mr Cummings said.



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